'Inappropriate': A child models the 'Mini Cha Cha Bikini' on Liz Hurley's fashion website
She has never been shy about flaunting her own body in order to promote her swimwear business.
But Elizabeth Hurley has been accused of sexualising young girls through her bikini range for children.
The actress’s website features several children wearing the skimpy designs while striking poses more suitable for adult models.
It includes items for the under-eights, such as an animal-print ‘Mini Cha Cha Bikini’ which costs £45 and is modelled by a blonde child with both hands placed precociously on her hips.
A £47 lilac ‘Collette Bikini’ for the 8-13 age range, the top of which is held together at the front by a gold ring, is described as being ‘great for girls who want to look grown up’.
One of the bikini-wearing models is Lyla Woodall, the eight-year-old daughter of Miss Hurley’s close friend, TV fashion guru Trinny Woodall.
Yesterday a number of campaigners accused Miss Hurley, 47, who has a ten-year-old son, of encouraging inappropriate behaviour.
Claude Knight, director of the child protection charity Kidscape, said: ‘It is very disturbing to see some inappropriate items in this swimwear range.
'The pieces that are very adult and which contribute to the sexualisation of young girls – especially in the poses portrayed – do not take account of the child protection concerns that have been well-aired.’
Siobhan Freegard, founder of parental networking website Netmums, said Miss Hurley should observe the details of a Government-backed review by campaigner Reg Bailey last year, which examined the factors contributing to the sexualisation of children.
She said: ‘I know a number of mothers who are concerned about the sexualisation of their children and would be horrified by their daughters dressing like mini-strippers.
'If designers like Miss Hurley don’t consider these important issues flagged up by the Bailey report into how to prevent the commercialisation of children’s sexuality, then eventually the Government will need to bring in some kind of regulation.’
Under fire: Hurley faces criticism from children's rights campaigners
If you've got it: Miss Hurley has never been shy about flaunting her own body
And Dr Katherine Rake, chief executive of the Family and Parenting Institute charity, said the designs put pressure on parents by attracting young girls to the notion of growing up too fast.
She says: ‘Parents have been telling us for a long time that they want their children to be able to enjoy childhood.
'We’d like young girls to be encouraged to emulate Olympic stars like Ellie Simmonds and Rebecca Adlington when in the swimming pool – not models in leopard print.’
In his report last year, Mr Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers’ Union, set out a series of guidelines to be met in order to prevent the sexualisation of young children.
One of the recommendations was for ‘retailers to offer more age-appropriate clothes for children and sign up to a code of practice which checks and challenges the design, buying display and marketing of clothes, products and services for children’.
A spokesman for Miss Hurley said: ‘We are in our fourth year of selling kids’ beach kit.
'Our collections sell extremely well in Harrods and in numerous stores across America and the Middle East.
'Most of our customers are repeat customers who report that their kids adore the designs.’
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